Three years ago, a young Will Zalatoris burst onto the professional golf scene with a T6 at the U.S. Open. Later that season, he finished runner-up to Hideki Matsuyama at The Masters in his first appearance at Augusta National Golf Club. Fast forward to today, and Zalatoris is now the seventh-ranked golfer in the world and one of the most beloved fan favorites on the PGA Tour.
But we see breakout stars on Tour nearly every year. Last season, it was Cameron Young. This year, it’s a talented rookie who’s already turning heads with his hot start to the 2022-23 season. If you don’t know Taylor Montgomery’s name just yet, I guarantee you will soon.
Taylor Montgomery’s rookie year is off to a hot start
If you don’t follow professional golf on a weekly basis, you probably have never heard of Taylor Montgomery. The 27-year-old secured his PGA Tour card this season for the first time in his career, and he’s only eight starts into his rookie year on golf’s biggest stage.
But what an eight starts they have been.
Montgomery kicked off his rookie year with a bang by finishing solo third at the Fortinet Championship in September. He followed that up with a T9 at the Sanderson Farms Championship a few weeks later. Then came a T15 at the Shriners Children’s Open, a T13 at the CJ Cup, and a T10 at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. After a disappointing T57 at the Cadence Bank Houston Open, Montgomery bounced back with a T15 at the RSM Classic and a T12 at the Sony Open.
The UNLV product, who turned pro in 2017, hasn’t missed a cut in eight starts and has already recorded seven top-15 finishes. His hot start has vaulted him to the No. 13 spot in the FedEx Cup standings early in the 2022-23 season.
Montgomery has owned his card for only a few months, but he’s already one of the best putters on the PGA Tour. Through eight starts, he ranks eighth on Tour this season in strokes gained from putting. He also ranks first in total birdies (149) and seventh in scoring average (69.3) through the Sony Open.
But this is just the beginning for the talented rookie.
Taylor Montgomery could be this year’s Will Zalatoris
Zalatoris became a mega-star overnight when he nearly won The Masters in his first career appearance back in 2020. Golf fans were immediately captivated by his elite ball-striking, his effortless power despite his paper-thin frame, and his uncanny resemblance to Happy Gilmore’s caddie, of course.
Montgomery may not have those same qualities, but he’s the best bet to become the Will Zalatoris of the 2022-23 season.
Two years ago, Montgomery missed out on earning his PGA Tour card in agonizing fashion. The Las Vegas resident finished 26th on the regular-season Korn Ferry Tour points list, one spot away from an automatic qualification. Needing a top-25 finish in the KFT Finals to punch his ticket to the PGA Tour, Montgomery again finished one spot away in 26th.
Montgomery went back to work on the KFT a year later and finished fifth on the points list to finally earn his PGA Tour card for the 2022-23 season. Now that he’s here, he plans on sticking around for a long, long time.
Don’t be surprised if Montgomery puts together a Zalatoris-esque rise to stardom this year.